Hospitals in the Western Cape are buckling under pressure as severe Covid-19 patients are being admitted almost every day due to the second wave of infections.
Brackengate field hospital, dubbed The Hospital of Hope is nearing its bed capacity of 264 admissions to date. There are only 338 beds there.
Provincial health spokeswoman Maret Lesch said the facility had seen 70 deaths and younger people, between 15 and 19 years old were being admitted. They do not, however, show as severe symptoms as older people or those with comorbidities, she added.
“We understand that young people want to socialise, but we urge them to do so safely. Stick to outdoors in the fresh air. They should wear masks at all times over and keep a distance of 1.5m from each other,” she said.
She said that a lot of the hospital’s staff members were in isolation but other professionals had flocked in to help.
Tygerberg Hospital will be allocated an additional 263 beds in the coming weeks to help deal with the demand for hospitalisation.
Provincial head of health, Dr Keith Cloete said that between December 5 and 12, the Western Cape had seen a 48% increase in the number of positive Covid-19 cases, and had also seen a 25 % increase in hospital admissions.
“The numbers of cases we have recorded in the province have now surpassed the number of cases we experienced during the first peak. Our test positivity rates and our hospitalisations are also rapidly approaching the levels we saw during the first peak,” he said.
He said Covid-19 hospitalisations had increased and hospitals were experiencing trauma and psychiatric pressures.
The southern, western, eastern, northern and Tygerberg sub-districts had shown a rapid increase in cases, he added.
Members of the public are encouraged to:
• Always wear a mask when going out
• Avoid crowded places, confined spaces with poor ventilation and close contact
• Stay home if sick and arrange a test – isolate while you wait for your results
• Be careful about sharing your “air space” by avoiding crowds where you cannot keep 1.5m distance
• Limit the size of your get-together (more people = more risk) and keep them short (longer = more risk)